Initially I was using coding to send sensor data from arduino to processing then to pachube, although due to us being on a local network in university it stopped this being possible.
The other issue I found was that my ip address would change every few hours which would mean my code would stop working.
After Discussing with Ali we set up a system in which Arduino would run as following:
-Upload and run OldStandardFirmata to the Arduino
-Run ArduinoInput_pachube_02_2 in processing which sends sensor data to my website(http://mybiopod.org/phpdata/myfeed.json) where submit.php (written and edited with text wrangler) runs and writes to myfeed.json (processing also displays these readings)which pachube can then read and output as graphs (https://pachube.com/feeds/53820#graph-builder-container).
This now gives me the ability to run MyBiopods from any location as long as I can run arduino and processing and have an internet connection.
After speaking to Ali today, it seems that I wont need the network shield as I will be sending straight from the arduino then to processing(computer) which will send to either pachube or straight to the website.
I choose to construct my container with notched edges so the box snapped together easily and made it extremely strong while using minimal material(In true Buck-minster fuller fashion). This made gluing much easier and held its shape perfectly as it dried.
I had first thought of gluing it flat edge to flat edge but after researching it revealed the edges would be very weak and would just break open.
The notched edges also mean that the top which is not glued in clips securely in providing a strong and a tight seal for the the next module to fit on top.
The laser cut tabs on the top pieces means that forces pushing down (through the biopods when they are stacked) are transferred outwards resulting in the top pieces making a tighter fit as more weight is applied from above.
I have been thinking about condensing down the amount of tabs I have for my website navigation bar. After walking through with a fellow colleague I came up with this one.
Today I worked on trying to get my BioPod sealed after 2 attempt first using a 2 part araldite which looked watertight but broke its seal after 2 days then trying a clear filler which was too bulky to get a neat seal which also lead to a few leaks.
Next step was off to the aquarium shop in my local village which produced a very dusty tube of aquarium sealant. Then I headed over to the hardware store and got hold of a tube of extra strong glue for perspex and airfix glue.
The extra strong glue was too thick and didn’t spread well but the airfix glue had a nice fine tip and proved great for sticking the edges of the Biopod together.
Prior to this I put tape along the inside edges of the biopod so that I could get a clean seal using the aquarium glue.
Once it had dried I applied the aquarium glue, looks good but I will have to wait till tomorrow to test.
Here is the rough carboard prototype of the Sensor Hub where the arduino will sit away from the BioPod so that it doesn’t get damaged if a leak in the BioPod occurs or a spill during filling. The sensors are all water resistant so they can deal with the wet but the arduino can’t and would be expensive to replace.
I have also made a box for the camera to capture the changes within the BioPod this may be integrated into the back of the BioPod at a later date.
The reason I choose to make my BioPod modules cube shaped instead of sphere shape was…
- The cube shapes mean that modules can be easily stacked
- Cube shapes are easier for working out the volume of ingredients aka water, air, soil than a sphere shape
- Easier to produce flat surfaces than curved shapes on the laser cutter , Looked into injection molding sphere shapes but found they didn’t produce a clear enough finish and were too thin from speaking to other students which had used it.
A sphere shape would have been nice as it would be instantly recognised as a miniature earth but it just wasn’t practical to produce. One other thought was to put the cube modules into an exterior globe but this would add unnecessary bulk and add more complexity in an already time constrained project.
I currently have all the sensors fully functioning and have got the arduino printing them out:
The next step is to get pachube to take these readings and make them into some nice graphs.
I first was using a two part araldite glue to build the Biopods but have found that it is so strong/ inflexible that it doesn’t produce a strong waterproof seal. So the next step I tried was to use a waterproof filler which seems effective but is a bit messy. I think next time when I am putting it together I will apply the masking tape, glue together then apply the waterproof filler. Using the masking tape I can take off the excess filler and get a clean line.
The other option is to use weld-on a perspex adhesive suggested by my friend Boris from the Ethnographic course.
IPS Weld-On #3 Plexiglas Solvent Adhesive Glue Cement Pint Can
Weld-On, Adhesive, Plexiglass, Plastic, Glue, Adhesive, Novus, Plastic Polish, Brillianize, Solvent Applicators
So after my discussion with Graham about beginning Mk1, he suggested two routes to go down, I could either focus on developing the visualisation of the data monitoring the BioPods or the Social aspect where people provide advise and support to each other. I have decided to focus on developing the visual display of sensors history on the websites results page as that means people can start really experiencing my project and seeing real live visuals which they can learn from. The social I might continue to develop later on if I have time but mean time they can use the basic forum, after speaking to Ali he suggested to just fake the social aspect as previous graduates had spent ages on these parts and got very little marks for it. Ali also mentioned that some graduates had spent about 50% of their time just making their log in fancy and making it link to facebook etc which meant they had less time for the real design aspect. Ill make sure I don’t get bogged down too much in the technical side as it looks like most of it will have to be faked anyway due to the restrictions of the Universities Network. It would be so much easier anywhere apart from at University as there seems to be so many restrictions with the network as I have a working prototype set up very simply on my home network. The next best thing is that Ali is going to try set up a fake network but that means I won’t be able to send live data to Pachube which might make things difficult.
Anyway so for Mk2 I am going to look at how I can present the data in a visually aesthetic way which is useful for my user group to aid their observations. The data I chose to use is numerical data as well as photographic data. Once I have developed the website layout for the most important page that being the Biopod Records page I will take that design layout and apply it to all the other pages.
The photographic data from user testing showed that it was good for an overview and an eye catching hook for users but for more detailed understanding graphs were required.
I am going to try and work out how best to present photographic time lapse images against the related graphs.
I need to work out what angle is best for the images to be taken: the whole of the biosphere from the front view or an internal view birds eye view? I think the above view may be the most rich although it is interesting to see the plants growing upwards from a side view. Maybe I can produce an internal camera housing which allows the camera to be situated behind the BioPod.